25 November 2015


I love nothing better than arranging flowers in a vase.  Well, that might be a slight overstatement, but it certainly does give me a lot of pleasure.  So when the time came to make the final block of my China Shop quilt, I knew it was going to be just like playtime.  After fussy-cutting the largest fabric flowers I could find in my stash I played for ages placing  them in their vase until I was happy with the arrangement.  

When I was satisfied (although I could have kept playing for hours) I dabbed a little bit of glue behind each flower to keep it in place and then started to free motion stitch them down.  I have never done raw edge appliqué before, mainly because being the neat freak I am, I can never get my head around all those frayed edges and loose threads.

The latest issue of Homespun magazine has all the instructions for putting this huge quilt together. After almost 12 months work,  I am really hoping it all comes together without any problems.


There is one thing I will say for this quilt, it has forced me to try many new techniques which I might otherwise not have attempted.

16 November 2015

Christmas challenge

It's been a while since my quilting group has had a challenge and so this year we decided to each make a Christmas table runner.  I find it very hard to feel very Christmassy until much closer to the big day but thought I had better make a start on something.  I searched Pinterest for ideas and found this Christmas tree which I liked because of its simplicity.  Then I found some fabrics which were also simple and not too bright and made three little trees.

I finished it with some straight line quilting and it was done.

I can't say I am delighted with it because I am not and I think that maybe I haven't put enough effort into it.  I know that the other members of  the group will produce table runners which are lot more interesting and look more Christmassy than mine.  However, I am not really into table runners of any season and I even wonder if I will use this one.  Ho Ho Ho, or should that be Ho Hum.

10 November 2015

An abundance of avocados

Avocados would have to be one of my favourite fruits and I have been so lucky this year because both daughter M and sister-in-law J have lovely big avocado trees in their gardens. 

J's tree in particular is literally dripping with fruit and every couple of weeks we visit her to fill a bucket full of the delicious green orbs. 


It is not easy work as her trees are very tall, but it is so worth the effort when you can bring home bounty like this.

I am not looking forward to the time when we have stripped the trees and I have to start paying for avocados again. Ouch!

06 November 2015

Scary stuff

A while ago, I got into my car to drive 'somewhere' and I had only just left the driveway when I suddenly realised that I had no idea where I was going.  For a couple of seconds I was panic-stricken. All I could think about was the book and movie "Still Alice" about an intelligent, vibrant woman who was suffering from early onset Alzheimer's disease.  Was I "Still Di"?  Thank goodness I remembered where I was supposed to be going and it hasn't happened again, but it still terrifies me when I think about it.

A few mornings after that I was on my way to the pool in Claremont for my early morning  swim when I happened to glance at my phone which was on the seat next to me and this is what I saw -

WHAT???  I have never asked Siri to  give me directions to the pool, nor have I entered this activity into my calendar or requested Google maps for directions.  How did 'she'/Google know where I was going.  I swim three mornings a week and I have been monitoring my phone every day since that first morning.  Sure enough, on each of my swimming mornings, when I turn on the car I get a message about how long it is going to take me to get to Claremont and what the traffic situation is.   Not only that, when I get into the car to drive home from the pool, I get this message -

At first I thought, Siri, this is beyond the call of duty but then I remembered that day when I did not know where I was going and I thought that maybe Siri  knew how terrified I was and decided to give me a little nudge so I wouldn't forget where I was supposed to be headed.

Oh this is scary stuff.

02 November 2015

Bountiful blueberries

It has been a wonderful season for blueberries.  Every couple of days I pick a bowlful like this and John and I enjoy them with our nightly fruit salad.

I'm not sure whether this  bounty is the result of Mother Nature, the fact that after several years growth my bush is bigger and more productive or, as I suspect, because the little people have to spend more time at kindergartens and schools, they have less time to visit me and, therefore, are not here to pick the berries before I can.   I really miss their visits and would gladly sacrifice a few berries if they could continue.

Whatever the reason, we are really enjoying these little bursts of sweetness,

and there is the promise on the bush of many more to come.

28 October 2015

More spring prettiness

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could enjoy spring flowers all year round.  The flowers last so much longer when they are not faced with searing heat and long hot dry days, no matter I hard I try to keep the water up to them.  Many of these flowers will be finished  in the next few weeks so I am making the most of them.


I love the little pinwheels of the Chinese star jasmine.  I had never noticed their similarity to a pinwheel before.  It is amazing what you notice when you look through the lens of a camera.

And now for my favourite - baby roses.  How beautiful are these.  When I saw them in the garden, (and this is going to sound incredibly wet and soppy) they brought tears to my eyes.


23 October 2015

The roses are back!

I know that every gardener says it, but spring really has to be my favourite time of the year.  The roses are back and, both inside and outside, they are spreading their beautiful perfume everywhere.

I seem to be picking fresh blooms almost every day, mixing them with other flowers, and popping them on every available surface so that I can enjoy them in every room of the house.

In my humble opinion, the rose really is the queen of flowers.